The other day while working with the Dark Goddess Tarot I drew Tefnut/6 of Water. She is associated with dew and rain and simple pleasures. This got me to thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve allowed myself to enjoy simple pleasures.
Don’t get me wrong, I can find plenty of ways to waste my time on a daily basis such as sitting in front the television and staring mindlessly at the screen. However it’s been a while since I’ve really been able to lose myself in a book or spend time playing with my dolls. Tefnut reminded me that these are the things that make life enjoyable – small, everyday pleasures that bring joy and contentment into our lives. So today I thought I’d share some of my simple pleasures with anyone out there who might read this post and maybe encourage them to spend some time reconnecting with their own simple pleasures.
One of my earliest remembered simple pleasures is reading books. I can clearly remember how excited I was to receive a few Dr. Seuss books as a child. I’m sure I had Golden Books too but the Dr. Seuss ones were special because they came in the mail (thus beginning my life long love of online shopping ;D). My mother had signed me up for a Dr. Seuss book club and I remember how much I loved those books – Green Eggs & Ham, The Lorax, The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss’ ABC – all were beloved and read over and over again. As I got older I remember losing myself in my local library and bookstore for hours. I remember how S.E. Hinton’s books impacted me. I remember such bizarre titles as Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack and If I Love You Am I Trapped F
Forever. I remember discovering Lois Duncan’s tales of horror and suspense. Let us not forget Judy Blume’s amazing tomes for teens. I still remember the subtle subversive sense of rebellion the girls in my 7th grade class felt reading Forever and referring to “Ralph”, much to the confusion of our male classmates and teacher. Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself was my first remembered exposure to the Holocaust. Are You There God it’s Me, Margaret was the first time I grasped what puberty and menstruation were all about (thank you Sheila Mayberry for recommended this classic). I’ve recently determined to reread these books because I have such fond memories of them.
I’ve also found some new authors to love and treasure. I just finished Lynda Barry’s One Hundred Demons and I’m currently reading Cruddy. Her book What It Is reminds me of a darker, snarkier SARK, which is right up my alley. I’ve always had a fondness for historical romances (well-written ones anyway which is still somewhat hard to come by). Once I find an author whose works I enjoy I will stick with them until they’ve disappointed me over several books. One bad book isn’t enough to deter me. I love books that take me to another place and make me feel for the characters. I still remember crying my heart out at the end of Patricia Kennealy-Morrison’s Hedge of Mist, the final book in her trilogy about King Arthur. Judith McNaught’s and Elizabeth Lowell’s historical romances often bring to tears as their tortured heroes and feisty heroines battle with each other in search of love. Stephen King, Dean Koontz and H.P. Lovecraft all scare me and fill me with vague terror at what lies hidden beneath the veneer of civilization. There are many more books and authors I could mention but I think I’ve made my point.
Another simple pleasure I’ve always enjoyed is coloring. I’ve never considered myself especially artistic but I still using my box of 64 Crayola crayons to color images in coloring books. I’ve always loved it. In fact I can think of fewer fragrances as enticing as a newly opened box of Crayola crayons (cheaper ones just don’t have the same aroma). It brings me right back to my childhood. I even still have some older Barbie coloring books that I occasionally pull out and lose myself in bringing color to the black and white pages. I used to have a fondness for color by number paint sets as well but even as a child I often found that the paint would dry up on me before I managed to finish painting.
Yet another simple pleasure I’ve always enjoyed is playing with fashion dolls – especially Barbie. She’s taken quite a hit over the years for her alleged negative impact on young girls’ self-esteem but as a child I saw Barbie as a gateway to possibilities. Barbie wasn’t married. She didn’t have kids. She was a free, independent female who could spend time with Ken if she chose or hang out with her buddies. She could be an executive, a doctor, an astronaut or a model and if she could be those things then so could I. I still remember my first Barbie – a Malibu Barbie I got when I was 6. Over the years I added a few others Barbies (Quick Curl and Superstar) as well as other dolls (does anyone else remember Tuesday Taylor?). I even got a Barbie dollhouse one year – it folded up into a cube shape and when opened became a 3 room house with very mod furniture. I eventually lost interest in Barbie as boys and friends took prominence. Then one day while working at a recreation center I was faced with a distraught young boy who had received a Barbie doll by mistake at the center’s Christmas party. I happened to have a brand new football in my office and offered it to the boy in exchange for the doll. He was thrilled with the trade. The doll was a 1995 Jeweled Hair Mermaid Midge and
I still have her. She slowly rekindled my interest in dolls. Every so often I would add another. Then Mattel released the Silkstone line and I was enthralled. They were lovely and felt so solid and substantial. They also had wonderful fashions. A few years later the Fashion Royalty dolls by Integrity were released and once again I fell in love. These ladies were gorgeous, poseable and had some great back stories. I eventually managed to accumulate quite a collection – over 200 Barbies and approximately the same number of Fashion Royalty dolls.
I’m no longer an active collector for a variety of reasons but I still have most of my dolls. I think Tefnut is telling me it’s time to play with them again. I used to love taking photographs of them and posting them to various doll-themed boards I frequented. Maybe it’s time to get back into the hobby. In fact I think I might find a way to combine my dolls habit with another simple pleasure – Tarot cards.
My Tarot card hobby started off slowly. I had known about Tarot for several years because I was reading about witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism and somehow they just seem to go together. I eventually bough myself a few decks – the Arcus Arcanum Tarot, The Hallowquest Tarot and the Norse Tarot.
I loved the imagery and would look at them quite often but I realized I really didn’t know much about their meaning. As is my tendency, I found a few books about working with and reading Tarot cards such as Eden Gray’s books and Mary Greer’s Tarot for Yourself. These offered some insights but it wasn’t until I discovered the Comparative Tarot group on Yahoo that I really began exploring the world of Tarot (and Tarot card collection). Thanks to this group I eventually became a decent Tarot reader and an insatiable Tarot deck collector. Each deck seemed to open the door to a new world, a new realm of knowledge to explore. It’s what still keeps me interesting and active with the Tarot.
Last but certainly not least on my list of simple pleasures are music and tea. I still believe listening to Led Zeppelin is one of the most most-blowing, sensual experiences in which I can indulge. I also have a fondness for AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Melissa Etheridge and P!nk but S.J Tucker, Incubus Succubus, Laura Powers, Enya and Loreena McKennit also have a place on my playlist. I have to admit that I have even created my own playlist of stripper songs in my head. I should probably make that playlist up one of these days and just dance around like no one is watching (ad they probably aren’t). If music can get me revved up then tea is what soothes me and calms me down. Whether it’s a tradition blend like Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast or a seasonal blend like Pumpkin Spice or Gingerbread, I find making a cup or pot of tea grounds me and helps me focus on myself for a few precious minutes. I have learned to love the exotic and varied blends available in the tea world. My favorites will always be black teas but I’ve also come to appreciate oolongs, especially the stronger, darker blends. There are also myriad flavored teas out there for every taste (mine tends towards chocolate blends).
So how about you? Are there some simple pleasures you once enjoyed that you’ve lost touch with over the years? Why not try reconnecting with them and see if they bring some joy and happiness into your life. I’m going to listen to some music and make a pot of tea.